Tyler Hansbrough, Ryan Anderson and Others Who Deserve True Starter's Minutes

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2011

Tyler Hansbrough, Ryan Anderson and Others Who Deserve True Starter's Minutes

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    Every year, fans like me (who think they know more than the NBA's coaches) wonder why some players spend most of their time on the bench, despite lighting it up while they're on the floor.

    This season, a couple of guys who've played very well in the time they've been given, are Tyler Hansbrough and Ryan Anderson.  Every time I see these guys play, or look up their team's box score, I can't help but wonder why they don't get more playing time.

    Oftentimes, we're told the reason a player can't stay on the court is his inability to defend.  However, when the guy who gets more minutes doesn't seem to defend any better, the question becomes even more vexing.

    Anderson and Hansbrough aren't the only guys I think deserve more minutes.  This slideshow will detail 10 players who are very productive in limited minutes, and whose teams could be better if they were given more time on the floor.

10: Xavier Henry

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    Minutes Per Game: 17.4

    Production Per Game: 5.6 points, 1.3 rebounds

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds

    Players Taking His Minutes: O.J. Mayo, Tony Allen

    Xavier Henry may not be as good or productive as O.J. Mayo right now, but he has a great deal of potential and the Grizzlies would be wise to start developing it now.

    Mayo's name has been swirling around the rumor mill for months, especially since he was replaced by Henry as the starting shooting guard.

    Mayo still gets significantly more minutes than Henry, despite coming off the bench.  Their are a couple problems with this.  Mayo is unhappy with the trade rumors, and being a reserve, and Henry can't gain any sort of confidence or rhythm as a starter when he's benched shortly after games begin.

    Also, Henry has more of a prototypical NBA wing's body, and he's a great defender for a rookie.

    The sooner Memphis ships Mayo, the sooner he, the Grizzlies and Xavier Henry will be able to get things going in the right direction.

9: Jared Dudley

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    Minutes Per Game: 23.9

    Production Per Game: 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1 steal

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals

    Players Taking His Minutes: Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Josh Childress

    The best evidence for Jared Dudley deserving some more time is a pair of games he started in the middle of December against San Antonio and Miami.

    In those two contests, he dropped 60 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and five steals, shot over 60 percent from the field, and made 10 out of 17 three-point attempts.

    Anyone who's watched the Suns play this year, knows that Dudley puts more heart into the game than anyone on the team (with the possible exception of Steve Nash).  He hustles extremely well, defends and does all the "little things".

    While he doesn't deserve to start over Vince Carter or Grant Hill right now, the team could be well-served to play him at least five or six more minutes per game.

8: Ty Lawson

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    Minutes Per Game: 24.2

    Production Per Game: 10.8 points, 4 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 16.1 points, 6 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals

    Players Taking His Minutes: Chauncey Billups

    The Nuggets need to kick start the rebuilding process, and they have a great piece to build around in Ty Lawson.

    Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups and Al Harrington have all been thrown around in trade discussions, and it's caused quite a distraction in Denver.

    Mikhail Prokhorov has called off the Nets discussions with Denver, but I still anticipate 'Melo being traded (Dallas anyone?).  Once that happens, the team could go into full-blown fire sale mode.

    One player they must keep is Ty Lawson.  In limited action over the last couple years, he's shown that he can be a great NBA point guard.

    He's unbelievably quick on offense and defense, has a great handle, shoots and finishes strong at the rim, and most importantly for a point guard, he sees the floor and distributes the ball effectively.

7: Chase Budinger

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    Minutes Per Game: 18.6

    Production Per Game: 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds

    Players Taking His Minutes: Shane Battier, Courtney Lee

    This is an interesting one, because Houston seems to have stockpiled solid wing players.  However, they need a solid big man to take the place of injured centers Yao Ming and Chuck Hayes.

    They could very well trade one or two of their strong wings in exchange for a starting center.  Hopefully, (for Houston's sake) they won't move Chase Budinger.

    His shooting percentages are down a bit this year, but he's proving that he can knock down perimeter shots.  Plus, he's extremely athletic and rebounds very well for a shooting guard.

6: Chris Douglas-Roberts

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    Minutes Per Game: 23.9

    Production Per Game: 8.8 points, 2.6 rebounds

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 13.3 points, 3.9 rebounds

    Players Taking His Minutes: Corey Maggette, John Salmons

    As a Memphis Tiger, CDR was one of the best scorers in the nation while in college.  Whenever he's been given the opportunity to showcase his scoring ability in the NBA, he's delivered.

    In his last four games he's averaged less than 20 minutes per game, and in those contests he put up four points per game.

    His lack of playing time over these last four games makes no sense when you consider his production from the previous two games.  He played 77 minutes and scored 54 points against Miami and New Jersey.

    If you look at his numbers in games that he received more than 30 minutes, you'll start to see just how effective he can be.  In those five games, he averaged 22.4 points per game.

5: Ronnie Brewer

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    Minutes Per Game: 23.6

    Production Per Game: 6.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 steals 

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 10.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 steals

    Players Taking His Minutes: Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver

    This one just blows me away.  Brewer may get more minutes than Bogans despite being a reserve, but he still deserves more time with the first five.

    Bogans is smaller than Brewer, and he's less productive on offense and defense.

    When I heard Chicago signed Brewer this past summer, I thought for sure he would be a 30 minute a night guy under the defensive-minded Tom Thibadeau.  

    Brewer is a fantastic defender, and an excellent slasher on offense.

4: DeJuan Blair

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    Minutes Per Game: 20.2

    Production Per Game: 7.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 13.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals

    Players Taking His Minutes: Antonio McDyess, Tiago Splitter

    Much like Xavier Henry, DeJuan Blair starts for his team, only to end up spending most of the night on the bench.

    Blair may be a bit undersized (at least vertically) for a big man, but playing next to Tim Duncan makes that deficiency negligible.

    If Blair played true starter's minutes, he could be one of the best rebounders in the NBA.

    Considering the Spurs great record, this one is not as set in stone as some of the others on the list.

3: Tyler Hansbrough

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    Minutes Per Game: 15.3

    Production Per Game: 6.6 points, 3.9 rebounds

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 15.4 points, 9.2 rebounds

    Players Taking His Minutes: Josh McRoberts, Jeff Foster

    Considering his ability to rebound, Jeff Foster getting some minutes makes sense.  Playing Josh McRoberts over Tyler Hansbrough is incredibly hard to fathom.

    Hansbrough is a better scorer and rebounder than McRoberts.  Plus, he works as hard as anyone in the league when he's on the floor.

    He may never be one of the league's best power forwards, but a guy who was one of the greatest scorers in NCAA history deserves more than 15 minutes per game.  Especially, when he'a averaging almost 17 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career.

2: Tyrus Thomas

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    Minutes Per Game: 21.6

    Production Per Game: 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 18.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks

    Players Taking His Minutes: Boris Diaw, Kwame Brown, Nazr Mohammed

    Tyrus Thomas has been extremely productive when he's been on the floor this year.  His time, and his game, was stifled under Larry Brown.

    Now, with a new coaching staff in place, this injustice looks like it will be rectified.

1: Ryan Anderson

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    Minutes Per Game: 17.7

    Production Per Game: 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.7 blocks

    Production Per 36 Minutes: 19 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks

    Players Taking His Minutes: Brandon Bass, Hedo Turkoglu

    I've been pulling for Ryan Anderson getting more minutes since before this season began.  His recent stretch has only served to solidify the fact that he should be spending more time on the hardwood, and less time in his padded chair on the sideline.

    He's behind Brandon Bass on Orlando's depth chart, but he's averaging more points, rebounds, blocks and steals per 36 minutes than Bass.

    Anderson is 21st in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating, and second on the Magic in that category, behind only Dwight Howard.

    He gives the Magic everything they lost when they dealt Rashard Lewis (Anderson's 6'10" and shooting 41 percent from three-point range).  Plus, he does things Lewis hadn't done for Orlando over the last couple years (rebound, defend and play with some real grit).

    A lineup of Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard would be extremely long, versatile and difficult to defend.

    Plus, with Gilbert Arenas, J.J. Redick and Brandon Bass coming off the bench, they'd absolutely be contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.

Your Thoughts?

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    Do any of these guys not deserve more minutes?  

    Who deserves more time that I didn't list?  

    Share all your thoughts in the comments section.